Meditation Tip No. 4: Get Out of the House
How it works: Meditation doesn't have to mean sitting still with your eyes closed -- in fact, focusing your attention on the outside world can help quiet the world within.
"With walking meditation the idea is to walk slowly and mindfully, while maintaining a soft and conscious breath," Mortali explains. "Every footstep is conscious and you remain mindful of the environment around you -- the wind, the sound of the leaves blowing, the cars going by." Every few minutes you bring your attention back to your footsteps. Simple.
You don't have to go out of your way on an ambitious nature walk, either. "Choose a path that you walk routinely, such as from your front door to your car," suggests mindfulness meditation expert Charles Francis, author of "Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple." You can either focus your attention on each footstep, or your entire body as you walk, he says. This helps slow down the mind (without grossly inconveniencing your daily life).
Meditation Tip No. 5: Breathe
How it works: What many people don't realize is that you don't have to set aside special time to meditate -- you can work meditative thinking into everyday activities.
"Instead of feeling guilty for not being able to sit around like a monk all day, realize that we live in a very different world and need to get it in when we can," says meditation master, acupuncturist and herbalist Pedram Shojai.
This means at red lights, in line at Starbucks, waiting on hold, at the water cooler at work -- Shojai says that whenever we get a free minute, a few quiet breaths down to your lower abdomen can make a real impact on our mental calm. "You don't need to be in lotus posture to anchor the breath and calm the mind," he says. "Just seize the opportunity and hack your way into a quick meditation."
Meditation Tip No. 6: Go Zero Gravity
How it works: Into a more tricked-out meditation experience? Baron recommends checking out your local "float clinic." Float clinics are trendy, spa-like locations containing "float tanks" or "isolation tanks," which are sound-proof, lightless tanks filled with skin temperature water. The water is filled with Epsom salt, which allows you to float effortlessly on top of it, like a cloud.
You float within your tank for 60 to 120 minutes for a deeply relaxing experience. (We get that this sounds a little claustrophobic, but floaters swear by it.)
This method was first used in the '50s by neuroscientist John C. Lilly to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Now, Baron says that more and more of these float tanks are popping up all over the country, introducing people who wouldn't otherwise meditate to a swankier form of the practice.
Meditation Tip No. 7: Tap It Out
How it works: If you find yourself suffering from anxiety, try this DIY practice, described as "an emotional version of acupuncture -- that doesn't use needles." We know, sounds fishy. But bear with us.
"Acupuncture relies on the fact that there are subtle energies that flow throughout the body called meridians," says EFT founder Gary Craig. In theory, by stimulating these meridians (which is done by tapping on a series of pressure points with our fingertips), we can balance out our emotional turbulence. The whole process takes about five minutes and can be done in the bathroom at work, in the shower -- anywhere.
Whether or not you call bologna on acupuncture, there's something legitimately calming about transferring your focus from internal trauma to the outer tapping stimuli of EFT.
Personally, I was going through a tough period a few months ago and was willing to try anything to feel better (including drinking way too much wine, which didn't help). I got into the habit of doing a few rounds of EFT in the mornings while waiting for my hair mask to sink in. And though I'm a naturally skeptical, non-believing person, I found that the practice helped me push the reset button on my negativity. Sitting alone with my thoughts for five minutes seemed scary and impossible, but the tapping brought me out of my head. By the end, I felt more energized, like my blood was moving better through my body, and that made me feel overall less icky and sad.
Meditation Tip No. 8: Let Sound Waves Do the Work For You
How it works: For the most low-skill, low-effort form of meditation, download an audio recording of meditative sound waves, called binaural beats. "These are a series of soothing sounds and gongs that activate alpha waves in the brain and literally force you into a state of meditation," explains functional medicine practitioner Dr. Westin Childs, DO.
Play a binaural beats recording, such as OmHarmonics, on low volume through headphones for maximum relaxation and stress relief. "It can be used while laying in bed at night to help with sleep as well," says Childs.